The Rossland-Warfield Christmas Bird Count was held on Sunday, Dec. 20.
The pandemic changed the way the annual event was carried out this winter, explains Linda Szymkowiak, compiler of the Rossland-Warfield count.
“Participants counted singly or in pairs from the same household, or stayed at home and counted the birds at their bird feeders,” she said. “Regrettably there was no post-count social held this year.”
The results were in the range of past years with 30 species recorded including: seven bald eagles; one sharp-shinned hawk; two pygmy owls; wild turkeys; steller’s jays; ravens; crows; four species of woodpecker; two species of chickadee; four species of finch; song sparrows; and juncos.
American dippers, mallards and common goldeneye were observed at open water.
There were a high number of pine siskin (378), and a low number of bohemian waxwings (2), Szymkowiak noted, adding that at least 40 waxwings were seen on days before and after the count day.
Only one American robin was observed, though it was not on the count day.
“Our unusual sighting was a male California quail observed in a Warfield backyard,” she said. “This bird has been surprising and delighting observers in Rossland and Warfield since March 2020.”
California quail are common in the Okanagan, not the West Kootenay.
Started in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is North America’s longest-running Citizen Science project. Information collected by thousands of volunteer participants forms one of the world’s largest sets of wildlife survey data. The results are used daily by conservation biologists and naturalists to assess the population trends and distribution of birds.
Each Christmas Bird Count is conducted on a single day between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. Counts are carried out within a 24-kilometre diameter circle that stays the same from year to year. They are organized, usually as group efforts at the local level, often by a birding club or naturalist organization.
Read more: Christmas Bird Count 2019
Read more: Join the Christmas Bird Count